birding-aus BARC Update March/April 1999

Subject: birding-aus BARC Update March/April 1999
From: palliser <>
Date: Wed, 12 May 1999 22:21:09 +1000
This column is intended to provide birding-aus readers with a regular
update of cases new, outstanding and completed.  This being a note that
will hopefully be a regular post to birding-aus. For those that are
interested a full account of each decision will be published as part of the
Birds Australia Report Series at a later date, it is also hoped to have a
summary published in Wingspan in the near future. Enquiries to Tony
Palliser (Chairman) or other committee members.        
Other Committee members: Paul Andrew, Mike Carter, John Hatch, Bob
Patterson, Danny Rogers and Bob Swindley.  Current proxy members: Dion
Hobcroft, David James, Niven McCrie and Tim Reid.        
NEW CASES RECEIVED (or reopened during March/April 1999).        
261 Glossy Swiftlet  Collocalia esculenta Connells Point, NSW 14/03/99 
262 Bulwer's Petrel  Bulweria bulwerii off Southport, QLD 27/02/99 
263 Papuan Harrier  Circus spilonotus Lennox Head, NSW 22/08/97+ 
264 Grey Wagtail  Motacilla cinerea Alice Springs, NT TBA 
CASES CURRENTLY UNDER REVIEW  (Including those requiring expert         
opinion or more than one round of voting).        
206 Westland Petrel  Procellaria westlandica: off Sydney, NSW 08/06/96      
231 Westland Petrel  Procellaria westlandica: Wollongong, NSW 28/07/96      
239 Green Sandpiper  Tringa ochropus: Darwin,NT 04/03/98   
240 Arctic Warbler  Phylloscopus borealis: Broome,WA 23/01/98          
247 Oriental Reed Warbler  Acrocephalus orientalis, Broome, 11/06/98       
251 Ringed Plover  Charadrius hiaticula  Lake Connawarre, VIC 10/01/98    
252 Little Ringed Plover  Charadrius dubius  Broome, WA 24/08/98       
254 Baird's Sandpiper  Calidris bairdii  Pittown, Windsor, NSW 05/10/98  
255 Black-backed Wagtail  Motacilla lugens: Broome, WA 15-26/03/98        
004 Pheasant-tailed Jacana  H. chirurgus: Paraburdoo, WA 22/12/74     
256 Little Ringed Plover  Charadrius dubius: Lake Bibra, WA 30/12/98   
257 Eurasian Curlew  Numenius arquata: Lower Daintree, N Qld 23/Oct/98 
259 Narcissus Flycatcher  Ficedula narcissina: Barrow Is, WA 26/11/95   
260 Brown Shrike  Lanius cristatus: Christmas Island, 20/11/98 
CASES ACCEPTED      (March/April 1999)        
253 Little Ringed Plover  Charadrius dubius  Darwin, NT 20/09/98  
258 South Is Oystercatcher Haematopus finschi: Nr Ballina, NSW 07/11/98 
CASES NOT ACCEPTED  (March/April 1999)        
Of the cases accepted:  
Case 253 represents a sighting of a plover observed regularly between
September and October 1998 at the Darwin Sewerage Works, NT.  Throughout
the birds stay observations were made by several well known and experienced
observers who have plenty of first hand experience with this species.  The
description describes all the salient features of  Little Ringed Plover and
safely eliminates the nearest contenders.  This being 6th confirmed record
for Australia to be accepted by the committee. 
Case 258 Involves a most interesting record that relates to a sighting of
an Oystercatcher first observed on the 6th November 1998 associating with
'Australian' Pied Oystercatchers Haematopus longirostris on a stretch of
beach just south of Ballina in northern NSW.  Since the announcement and
publication (Straw 1999) of the find in mid January 1999 this record has
created considerable interest in the ornithological community and has
subsequently been observed by many individuals, including some committee
members.  First thoughts were that this bird may have been a hybrid.
However, after consultation and further research, the bird was identified
as a South Island Pied Oystercatcher a species normally migrating from the
breeding grounds (shingle river-beds & farmland) of the South Island to the
coastal areas of the North Island of New Zealand each autumn
(January-March).  Members voted unanimously in favour of acceptance.  With
several members commenting that the age, and reason for the birds arrival
at this location at that date remains difficult to ascertain.  The bill
colour, lack of a striking orbital ring and dull eye, suggests a sub-adult.
It has been convincingly suggested that sightings of oystercatchers from
Norfolk and Lord Howe Islands (Carter 1998) may represent H. finschi but
this record represents the first "confirmed" sighting for Australia.  Our
congratulations go to those involved in finding and identifying this bird.
There is no doubt that the sighting has provided a unique opportunity to
compare the two species in the field. 
I hope you find this information of interest   
Tony Palliser 
Chairman.....Birds Australia Rarities Committe 

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